Spring time for LOFAR Sweden

As the Sun is finally warming up both the nature and people this far north, also the efforts to construct the Swedish LOFAR station awake from their winter sleep. From November until now snow and frozen soil stopped the work in its tracks, but today at Onsala near Göteborg on the west coast of Sweden, the building activities will recommence.

LOFAR is a European wide radio telescope consisting of stations spread out over the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, France and Sweden, with possibly more countries joining in the future. The stations can work independently as small radio telescopes, or they can send their data to a central processing unit in the Netherlands to mimic a giant radio telescope of a cross section of several thousands of kilometers. It will be exploring the sky at radio frequencies between 30 and 200 MHz, an ip to now mostly unexplored regime of the electromagnetic spectrum.

LOFAR observations will be relevant for several of the themes of the Oskar Klein Centre. For example, it will be hunting for high energy cosmic rays, transient objects such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts, and for me personally the most exciting will be exploration of the early Universe, the epoch when the first stars and galaxies formed. From the OKC both Felix Ryde and I are involved in the executive committee of LOFAR Sweden.

The station at Onsala will consist of two circlular groups of antennas and before winter the ground was prepared for these (as can be seen from the two crop circles in the picture). Now the necessary cables will dug in, a major undertaking as the total length of these is more than 10 kilometers. After this the antennas will be placed in the fields. By the summer the station should be ready and a festive opening is planned for after the summer.

If you want to keep track of what is happening with the Swedish LOFAR station, you can go to the (new) website http://lofar-se.org

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